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May 2007

April 2007

Happy May Day


"When I was quite a child, I went with my mother to visit her relatives at a small town in the South of France. We arrived about the end of April, when the spring had fully burst forth, with its deep blue sky, its balmy air, its grassy meadows, its flowering hedges and trees already green. One morning I went out with my mother to call upon a friend: when we had taken a few steps, she said: 'To-day is the first of May; if the customs of my childhood are still preserved here, we shall see some "Mays" on our road.''Mays,' I said, repeating a word I heard for the first time, ' what are they?' My mother replied by pointing to the opposite side of the place we were crossing: ' top, look there,' she said; 'that is a May.'

Under the gothic arch of an old church porch a narrow step was raised covered with palms. A living being, or a statue—I could not discern at the distance—dressed in a white robe, crowned with flowers, was seated upon it; in her right hand she held a leafy branch; a canopy above her head was formed of garlands of box, and ample draperies which fell on each side encircled her in their snowy folds. No doubt the novelty of the sight caused my childish imagination much surprise, my eyes were captivated, and I scarcely listened to my mother, who gave me her ideas on this local custom; ideas, the simple and sweet poetry of which I prefer to accept instead of discussing their original value.

'Because the month of May is the month of spring,' said she, 'the month of flowers, the month consecrated to the Virgin, the young girls of each quartier unite to celebrate its return. They choose a pretty child, and dress her as you see; they seat her on a throne of foliage, they crown her and make her a sort of goddess; she is May, the Virgin of May, the Virgin of lovely days, flowers, and green branches. See, they beg of the passers-by, saying, " For the May." People give, and their offerings will be used some of these days for a joyous festival.'

When we came near, I recognised in the May a lovely little girl I had played with the previous day. At a distance I thought she was a statue. Even close at hand the illusion was still possible; she seemed to me like a goddess on her pedestal, who neither distinguished nor recognised the profane crowd passing beneath her feet. Her only care was to wear a serene aspect under her crown of periwinkle and narcissus, laying her hand on her olive sceptre. She had, it is true, a gracious smile on her lips, a sweet expression in her eyes; but these, though charming all, did not seem to seek or speak to any in particular; they served as an adornment to her motionless physiognomy, lending life to the statue, but neither voice nor affections. Was it coquetry in so young a child thus studying to gain admiration? I know not, but to this day I can only think of the enchantment I felt in contemplating her. An older sister of hers came forward as a collector, saying, 'For the May.' My mother stopped, and drawing some money from her purse, laid it on the china saucer that was presented; as for myself, I took a handful of sous, all that I could find in my pocket, and gave them with transport; I was too young to appreciate the value of my gift, but I felt the exquisite pleasure of giving.

In passing through the town we met with several other 'Mays,' pretty little girls, perhaps, but not understanding their part; always rest-less, arranging their veils, touching their crowns, talking, eating sweetmeats, or weary, stiff, half asleep, with an awkward, unpleasing attitude. None was the May, the representative of the joyous season of sweet and lovely flowers, but my first little friend."

Happy May Day xoxoxoxo

  Quote from                                                                           


More Labels


I have been looking for ways to organize my baking section. I have a large selection (as you can see) of lots of different dried fruits, nuts, sugars, ect. I found these small totes at Target. I love them because they are flexible and have handles. I buy most of my baking supplies in the bulk section so I have lots of small bags of this and that. I labeled each one chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, sugars, miscellaneous. I may get more.  I love it because I can pull out a tote and easily find what I am looking for. Even thought there is a lot in each tote, it looks a lot cleaner now having a row of them with the same label. If you like the labels, click on the image below and save them for you to use. I covered them the same way as I did these lables.

Also you will see all these papers on the cabinet doors. I keep taped to the inside of both doors basic baking recipes I use all the time. I found it was the only I could keep them, without loose them :-)

                                                                              Lables Blables_2


Menu Of The Week


This menu is very easy and quick, which is really nice to have in ones arsenal. I came up with this sauce a couple of winters ago. I missed tomatoes and all there was on-sale was plum tomatoes (which by the way are a $1.00 pd. at Safeway this week). Sadly they are not very flavorful. So I roasted the tomatoes which caramelizes the sugars in the fruit and concentrates the flavors. I do the tomatoes after lunch and set them aside till dinner. I also like to keep some roasted veggies in the fridge to have on-hand. So you can do this part a-head. You could even put all the ingredients in the blender and pull out at dinner time. I will say you do need to make sure your tomatoes are soft and ripe. If you buy them too firm, no amount of roasted is going to help. So let them sit on you counter for several days first.

This sauce is a very creamy and rich, without the cream. You can serve it with pasta and dress it up with shrimp and veggies if you want. You could also add a splash of red wine or vodka. So feel free to play with it. Also use raw garlic. The bite of garlic helps balance the sauce.

The sorbet is wonderful. I made it with frozen raspberries and pushed the sorbet though a strainer to remove the seeds. Hope you find it yummy.


Roasted Tomato Ricotta Sauce

10 plum tomatoes cut in half, length wise

1 cup ricotta

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

8 basil leaves

3 garlic clove cut in several pieces

3 TBLS olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

To roast tomatoes

Pre-heat oven 3.25. Set tomatoes on a cookie sheet, cut side up. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes and sprinkle some salt and sugar on tomatoes. Roast tomatoes 1  1/2 hour to 2 hours, till tomatoes have collapsed and tops caramelized.

To make sauce.

In a blender or food processor put tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Blend till smooth.

Mix cooked pasta with sauce. The hot pasta will warm the sauce. Serve with more cheese.


For dessert this veryyyyyy simple fruit sorbet !!!

Image by Cindy Revell



Boy I missed checking up on blogs and see how my friends are doing. I thought my MIL might think that was a bit strange and I needed more real friend s   ;- ) But she says that if one is lucky to find support and kindness, you should take it. It was a pretty amazing trip. My FIL got to meet his daughter who he had not seen in 35 years. Everyone was a bit nervous but all went well. She and her husband seem like family almost immediately. It was lovely to see her set aside any anger she my have and just start making the best of the time she has now.

La_rumba2   I got to hit all my favorites. We went to LaRambla in McMinnville. It is a tapas restaurant. The girls had never gone and loved all the tapas. If you do not know were McMinnville is, it is like Oregon’s version of Napa valley. Wineries and farms everywhere. I was in seventh heaven.

    Chocolate After we have tapas, we always go across the street to Honest Chocolates. She makes handmade chocolates that are perfect. My favorite is the lemon cream with dark chocolate. It is nice and zesty and not too sweet. Actually none of her chocolate are icky sweet. She is extremely knowledgeable about chocolate and making them. I always love talking with her. She had some new chocolates with Pinot Noir and Merlot.

      Dustpan I found a new store that was soo fun, Dustpan Alley. I thought of all you ladies when I walked it. Angelina had soo many handmade items (I got lots of ideas, thank you), lots of oil cloth items, fun glittered fairy wands. These beautiful paper covered boxes. She also has a craft blog, see I knew she was a kindred spirit.

    Redwork Also Grandma's Attic quilt shop. She has the largest selection of red work (also has free patterns on-line). I am always sooo inspired every time I go. Rachel has started a new blog.

   So it was a lovely trip but always nice to get back to ones own home. I am really hoping to get some spring cleaning done and hopeful some fun ideas for you readers. Aubern'e is at her grandparents and will be home this weekend. We miss her sooo xoxoxo

This and That and see you next week


Hello ladies I am off to visit my in-laws. Maybe there will be some sun there. Have a lovely weekend and I will see you later next week. 

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Well I have been blessed again ;-)

Sharon at Violet Cottage knows my love of old children's books and sent me the most charming ones. Thank you Sharon for thinking of me. You are so sweet and remember you are perfect xoxox

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Also Jill at Bittersweet (who is to generous) sent me a love-bird packet.

"What are love packets? I'm glad you asked! Love Packets, as I believe I've appropriately named, are bags/packets filled with soulful little objects of affection, items to be used briefly, or for a short time, and items to just look at, I believe you would call them, Ephemeral objects of affection. Anyway it gives me great pleasure to share them with my friends." say Jill

It was lovely Jill and what a wonderful idea. I will have to think about sending out some Love-bird packets myself. Thank you sweetie


Chloe and I made this yummy raspberry coffee cake from Kelli There Is No Place Like Home. And I did not change it (well not that much  ;-). I used half whole wheat pastry. Mine was cooked in 40 minutes and next time I am going to try berries instead of jam. I will just take frozen raspberries and push it down in the cream cheese.                                                  Thank you Kelli we all LOVED it xoxox


Show and Tell Friday



Kelli at There Is No Place Like Home is having a show and tell. This is mine. When my mother was little she collected dolls. When any family members or friends traveled they picked up a doll. She has some amazing dolls. Since I have the girls I got the doll collection. When the girls were little we had them all lined up on a shelf. Right now most are packed away. But the small dolls I have in my tea cabinet. I love this doll. I think it is her sweet expression. I ladore dolls but not with scary faces. I love her bead necklace and braids. 


Prrretteee Lables



I think I have already confessed this but if not, I HATE cleaning. I mean what is the point, it only looks dirty 20 minutes later, uggg. But of course one has to clean. Since I love decorating I try to think of it as part of staging my house. This helps (but I still hate cleaning). So I play these little games with myself. I treat myself once a month to something small. If I have a big job I think of some creative task I get to do with it. Please tell me I am not the only one like this  <:-o

So my kitchen needs a spring cleaning. I have been wanting to make my kitchen feel more Victorian but still keep the pastels I have. Well these labels fit the bill. I just love them. As I have said I am on a fairly tight food budget. One of the ways I save money is to buy in bulk. My grocer has a large bulk section and that saves me a lot of money. But I then have lots of jars. For items I use a lot of, I have peanut butter jars a friend gave me. I painted the lids a pretty lavender, gray. Then made these labels.


One of the problems with homemade labels is what do you do when you have to wash the jar. I tried several ideas, like tying them on (that is why there are holes punched in the corner). What I ended up doing was cover the labels completely on both sides with packing tape (I did not want to pay for laminating, then I could buy good chocolate instead). So then when the labels were covered, I just used another strip of tape and taped the top to the jar. It will be easy to pull off, clean jar and re-tape.

If you want to make labels yourself, click on each picture and save. I gave you a blank one and you can write what you want on it. Enjoy, by the way price I had to pay for these pretty labels was to take apart my cabinet and scrub it down and clean all the jars !!

Flour OatsRice SugarRi44003

Thinking Blog Award



Wow ladies 43 responses. I wish I could give you each a gift, actually I wish I could cook for all of you. Thank you for the kinds words and encouragement. If I am ever having a bad day all I will have to do is go read all of them xoxoxoxxo

I have been awarded the thinking award  by dear Tracey at Notes From A Cottage Industry. Thank you sweetie xoxox. So I award these lovely ladies for their creative, inspiring and most important beautiful blogs !!

Karla's Cottage Who by the way is have a very yummy give-away and tell her I sent you (I really want that necklace !!)

Everyday Beauty

Pleasant View Schoolhouse

Vintage Pretties

Pixie Blossom

Also MizSmoochie who has already been nominated for the thinking blog award but it gives me the chance to share what lovely gifts she sent me. A fun vintage cookbook and a wonderful casserole carries. Such pretty fabric !!!! Thank you MizSmoochie xoxox

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I forgot to tell you were you can get your Biscut_3   Here

Could Die


Okay I can just die now and go to heaven !! I have to brag (isn't that what a blog is for) Susan Branch has been to my blog and wants to swan-dive into my Rhubarb Rose Fool :-) Susan I would love to cook for you !!

Thank you ladies I just had to share that. If my blog ends tomorrow I will be a happy, happy girl.

Now I am sure you did not need to know all that but if you are as big fan as me you will want to read Susan interview at Tales Of Pixi Wood. Dear Cherry was kind enough to organize an interview were Susan answered our questions. Thank you Cherry xoxoxo and thank you Susan for taking the time. I know we are all thrilled to read it. Love Clarice

image from Susan's site

One Year




I cannot believe it has been a year since I started my blog. Boy, I had no idea what it would be like. I have enjoyed several blogs, then I remember seeing A Happy Miscellany and falling in-love. I thought if I could make a blog even a tiny bit as wonderful and yummy as Mrs. Staggs had, well I could get excited about that! This blog is has been such a creative endeavor (and a learning curve) for me. I am just so thrilled that you come to my blog, so I can have the fun of making it.

I have met so many kindred spirits, learned many new ideas, my girls and I blessed so many times from blog-land. It is an interesting world. It is a world that those who do not blog, do not get. It cheers each other on, it grieve for each other, it give more then it ever takes. I see bloggers always reaching out to it's readers. There is an unwritten code of ethics, where a blogger is thankful and always coming from a place of giving. What a wonderful, amazing thing. Imagine if we were always coming from a place of giving. Actually I think most people are giving but the bad sicks out way more then the good but blog-land and you wonderful readers remind me every day how kind the world is.

So coming from a place of giving I have a give-away. I will enter anyone who posts on this entry and Thursday I will pick a winner !!! I have a vintage mix of an oval cloth I have added old mother-of-pearl  buttons, an older copy of Victoria mag, a hankie holder, lovely bookmark Aubern'e made, vintage glass bottle, a crown charm, an Argyle bone china plate and who knows what other bits and bobs I will add. Good luck and thank you again for all your support and kind words over the past year. xoxoxox

Pot Trellis





Remember my shoe-room there is a pot in the corner with this arch over it. Well that was a climbing jasmine but it died. I was cleaning out the pot and thought the arch looked good still, so I kept it in the pot. I decided I would like some of these trellis for more pots. This is what I did.

1.You will need wire coat hanger, wire cutters, some bare branches and long leggy greens like ivy. If you want, some flowers to garnish your trellis to.

2.Just cut the hook off the hanger and straiten out the wire. Then bend the wire into a arch.

3.Wrap long, twiggy branches around the arch. Then weave in and wrap greens around the twigs. It is okay if the ends unwrap a bit. If it really will not stay wrapped tie it off with some stem or twine. Trim each end of the twigs to the same length of the wire.

4.Just stick each end of wire in the dirt and add flowers. I love that it added a bit more to my pots. Especially this time of year when the plants are soo small.



Parisians adore the sunshine. On a sunny day the many squares and parks are peopled by children dressed in gay costumes, always attended by parents or nurses. The old gingerbread venders at the gates find a ready sale for chunks of coarse bread (to be thrown to the sparrows and swans), hoops, jump-ropes, and wooden shovels,—for the little ones are allowed to dig in the public walks as if they were on private grounds and heirs of the soil. Here the babies build their miniature forts, while the sergents-de-ville (or policemen), who are old soldiers, look kindly on, taking special care not to trample the fortifications as they pass to and fro upon their rounds Here future captains and admirals sail their miniature fleet, and are as helplessly horror-stricken when the graceful swans sally out and attack their little vessels, as when from Fortress Monroe the spectators watched the "Merrimac" steam down upon the shipping in the roads.



Here the veterans, returned again to childhood, bask in the sun, and, watching the fort-building, forget their terrible campaigns amidst snows and burning sands, delighting to turn an end of the jumping rope or to trot a long-robed heiress on, perhaps, the only knee they have left.



Parisians are very fond of uniforms, and so begin to employ them in the dress of citizens as soon as they make their entry into the world, even before they are registered at the mayor's office; for the caps and cradles of a boy (or citoyen) are decorated with blue ribbons, and the girl (or citoyenne) with pink.

Every boys' or girls' school of any pretension has a distinctive mark in the dress, and so has each employment or trade,—the butcher's boy, always bareheaded, with a large basket and white apron; the grocer's apprentice, with calico over-sleeves and blue apron; and the pastry-cook's boy, dressed in white with white linen cap, who despises and ridicules the well-blacked chimney-sweep, keeping the while at a respectful distance. And we must not forget the beggars, with their carefully studied costumes of rags, or the little Italians, born in Paris, but wearing their so-called native costume, which has been cut and made within the city walls.



The little ones of the outskirts of the city are generally independent and self-reliant youngsters, and sometimes, before they are quite steady on their feet, we meet them already doing the family errands, trudging along, hugging a loaf of bread taller than themselves. But the rosy plumpness of the fields is wanting; for children are like chameleons, and partake of the color of the locality they inhabit, so these poor little ones are toned down by the smoke and dust of the workshops. Their play-ground is under the dusty, dingy trees of the wide avenues; but they have the same games of romps their peasant mothers brought from their country homes, and above the noise of the passing vehicles we often hear their voices as they dance round in a circle, and sing verses of some old provincial song.



The delightful hours spent in boyhood, going to and from school, are unknown in the gay French capital to children of well-to-do parents. Instead of starting early and lingering on the way, they watch from the window until a black one-horse omnibus arrives, when a sub-master takes charge of the pupil, and the omnibus goes from house to house, collecting all the scholars, who are brought home in the same manner, the sub-master sitting next the door, giving no chance to slip out to ride on top, or to beg the driver to trust a fellow with the reins; and as it is the custom to obey all in authority, the master is respected. Girls are either sent to boarding-school or go to a day-school; in the latter case, always accompanied by one of their parents or a trusty servant. But the parents, if their means will not permit them to send their boys to schools that support a one-horse omnibus, or if they have not a servant to go with them, perform that task themselves. In the schools for the poorer classes, when teaching is over, the children file out, two by two, the older children being appointed monitors, and the little processions disappear in different directions; the teachers standing at the gate until they are lost from sight, for they have not far to go, as there is a free school in each quarter. But I pity the charity-school girls. Although always neatly and cleanly dressed, they are all alike, with white caps, and dresses which might have been cut from the same piece. They file through the streets or public gardens, under the charge of the "good sisters," and perhaps they stop to play or rest sometimes, but I never saw them do so. Perhaps there is no real reason to pity these charity-children, boys or girls; but I remember my own free and happy school-days in America, and so I pity them.


Corner Of My Home


Well I finally took down my bird tree. I know Christmas was 4 months ago but it has been too cold to work out there. The sun has been peeking out, so we took advantage and cleaned out the shoe-room (as we call it). I still love my nests and scattered them around. See that large green glass bottle? Isn't it amazing. It belonged to grandmother Bell. It is a very old oil bottle she got in Mexico. The light jar is a garage sale find. The small dark green bottle was a goodwill bargain. It was covered in wicker that was all moldy, but I could see there was pretty green glass under it. So I took it home cut off the moldy wicker. It is a beautiful hand-blown bottle. I am soo glad I did not let that black mold gross me out !!


Pirate Thank-You



   I know I keep saying this, but I am just so amazed at the generous nature of the blogging community. It is full of the most creative and giving people. Leigh Ann at   The Pink Kitchen is one of them. She sent Chloe for her birthday the sweetest pirate flower pin. Ohh my gosh it is sooo darn cute and the gold bag to boot. Look at the back of the pin. She used a magnet instead of an pin. I thought that was a brilliant idea. The pin goes perfect with her new pirate handbag !! Thank you Leigh Ann xoxoxo

Chloe say, Thank you Leigh Ann I just love the pin, it is sooo cute. And very piratey. It was very nice of you to think about me on my birthday. Thank you Love Chloe.      

PS. just so I am real on this blog I wanted to let you know David got sick, then I get a stomach bug. Ugh I will not go into details but my Martha Easter all went down the drain. We decided to go our favorite state park (were we would not be around other and infect them). Have some tea and sit on the beach. Haa on the way there we almost were hit and all our tea spilled all over the car. It was some weekend. But I have to say the reason I am sharing all this, is I was thinking about the weekend and how it still felt special (except my hanging my head over the toilet thing). It felt special because we were together as a family. We sat on the beach and the girls did nature drawings and talked about the meaning of the holiday to us (by their choice by the way, not our leading). Basically we were just us, doing what we always do but wow what a blessing that is. Even without the the good china, the fancy center piece or strawberry trifle with Riesling sauce. What a blessing it is to have a past to remember, what a blessing to be so comfortable with each other, what a blessing to sit on the beach (even with out tea) and just be happy.

Happy Easter

The Lamb
(Songs of Innocence)

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life & bid thee feed,
By the stream & o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, wooly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek & he is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child & thou a lamb.
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee

By William Blake

Have a blessed Easter (and lots of chocolate bunnies)  xoxox

Easter Menu


Well I pulled together our Easter menu. We will have a brunch and my sister and mother will also be making some dishes. But this is what I am making. This is a twist of a Susan Branch recipe and here is what you do. The day before make creamed spinach and quick hollandaise. The next day you gently warm them. On your plate you set a layer of spinach, then you set a artichoke bottom on the spinach. The artichoke is cup shape and you fill it with scrambled or poached egg. Then set a piece of smoked salmon on the eggs and pour hollandaise sauce over the top. Garnish with chopped chives or fresh parsley.

We will also have spiral cut ham with orange marmalade glaze. I like to drizzle the ham with chunky orange marmalade, because the orange candies in the oven and is soo yummy with the ham.

I will also make Mixed greens salad.

The girls will make stuffed eggs.

For dessert I will make Strawberry Trifles with Riesling Syrup the day before. Yummm.

The Golden Name Day



One of my all time favorite books is "The Golden Name Day" by Jennie Lindquist. It is a perfect spring book. The Golden Name Day is a children's book, but a children's books for everyone. Like The Secret garden. It is just one of those magical stories about Nancey and her time with her Swedish grandparent. It is a joy to read, a story were everyone is kind (this is a pet-peeve of mine. I will not tolerate my girls to be unkind just because they are children and will not read books were others are unkind. Now you know were Chloe gets it from :) and just a sweet story about a family. Which is my favorite thing to read. It is hard to get a copy of this book but I know my library has it. There is also two sequels The Little Silver House and The Crystal Tree. Which are both good but not quite as magical as The Golden Name Day.

  "Nancy standing in her frilly dress with fireflies around her, she has come to live with her Swedish grandparents because her mother is ill. She learns about many Swedish customs, including name days. Since her name isn't Swedish, she doesn't have a name day and feels left out. She meets a Polish girl and learns Polish-Americans celebrate name-days and that there is a day for her middle name--Wanda. There is also a quite a bit on how she and her cousins decorate their rooms. Nancy chooses yellow rose wallpaper--some editions of this book have a pattern of yellow roses on the endpapers."

Egg idea


I have been in such a hole I thought Easter was not for a couple of weeks. Akk I am soo not prepared and am running around like a crazy woman getting ready for the Easter Bunny. I thought I better post this idea before the holiday passes. I have a collection of paper-mache eggs. I love them but they are hard to display being such an odd shape. So I found using teacups is a great way to hold them up.

Speaking of eggs, I have had several e-mails asking if my petite-magazine is about Easter. No it is not. It is springy and you could use the ideas for Easter but it is not specifically Easter. I hope that helps clear things up. I am off to make birthday cake and then plan my Easter menu. 

PS. I have been asked if I made the eggs. No I am not that talented. But I am flattered that you would think I was ;-)

Birthday Girl



Well my baby is 11. Chloe is one of those wonderful children who is very deep and wise beyond her age. But appreciates being a kid all at the same time. She has a huge heart. She will not read Secret Garden because at the beginning of the book the children are mean to Mary. Chloe will not tolerate anyone being mean. Tomorrow she will have her Pirate of Caribbean/Eragon party (these, plus dragons and horses are her passion).  Since I created for Aubern'es birthday a stuffed Raspberry french toast, she wanted me to come up with something special for her. So I made waffles, spread with nutella and sliced bananas on top. She also had bacon and fresh strawberries. In bed of course :-)

I love you sweetie, you are our sunshine and you keep us young. Daddy and I are so proud of you.

xoxoxo Mommy

Spring glimpses


We are starting to have glimpses of spring, in between the raindrops. I love looking out my living room window and seeing the door I set against the tree. It looks like a door that would take you to fairyland.

Oh and look at the mirror table I got on clearance for $25.00. I was sooo thrilled. Also my mother bought me is amazing tea towel from Anthropology. It is too wonderful (and expensive) to actually use. So I wrapped it around a pillow.  I just pined it on the backside with safety pins. I love this easy idea, because I get board really easy and am aways changing things around. This make it simple to do.